Reporting from: An undisclosed location in The Land of the Free
237 years ago, fifty members of the Continental Congress ratified their shot over the bow; a declaration of independence from the British Empire. It would be among the last great acts against a collapsing imperialist empire.
The declaration contained one of the best-known phrases in the English language to this day:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
If only they knew that the empire they helped sink would be, in many ways, resurrected on the very ground they stood on.
We’ve talked before about how the currency situation in those days wasn’t a whole lot better. The phrase “not worth a Continental” came from federally issued fiat currency that dropped in value like a stone.
The only difference was that the founding government’s first failed currency was allowed to trade alongside other shaky colonial currencies, Spanish dollars, and animal carcasses.
Today, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are in short supply for many in The Land of the Free. Those who oppose the government’s will are silenced and even jailed. All men aren’t created equal when a ruling class of government thugs get the privilege of doing as they please without reproach. You just have to take it.
Don’t like their hands in your pants? Don’t quote your right to liberty… just don’t fly. Don’t want to use a failing US dollar? Don’t mention freedom… just learn to deal with it, and don’t dare create an alternative currency. Don’t like been spied on? Say nothing of your pursuit of happiness… you’re just a terrorist with something to hide.
Tomorrow, I’m embarking on an eighteen-month journey visiting dozens of countries to find more freedom, more prosperity, and more opportunity. Having been to lots of places already, I can tell you freedom does exist. More importantly, the idea of “America” is a portable concept that goes where it is wanted.
After a two month respite, my journey back into the world is my own personal Declaration of Independence. It’s time we acknowledge that we are not slaves owned by the United States.
Whenever I travel, I rarely refer to myself as “American”. I’m often coy about where I’m from and people often guess somewhere other than the United States. Personally, I don’t see the need to be identified by a cattle brand that defines me as the property of one of the world’s 200-some sovereign governments.
I’m a free man.
I don’t subscribe to the collectivist jargon that I am really “we”, and that I should bear the burden of bad policymaking by the US by identifying as “one of them”. None of us chose to be born on a certain patch of dirt. In fact, if you were born on the American patch of dirt four hundred years ago, you would have called yourself part of a family or a tribe, not part of a government.
The United States has become a land of people who have forgotten what freedom is. For many, it’s the currency they trade in to obtain nebulous feelings of “safety” and “comfort” – at your expense. I call it the Paris Hilton Effect. After enough generations, people forget WHY they have what they do and start frittering it away, figuring the party will never end.
My first stop in Hong Kong will be a great place to begin. As the world’s freest economy, it’s a great place to bank offshore, start a company, or just hang out. Despite the oft-repeated notion that Hong Kong is part of China and lacks any freedom, Hong Kong residents have maintained a laissez-faire system of economic freedom separate from that of the Mainland.
What’s interesting about July 4th in the US is that it’s a great excuse for Americans to blindly wave the flag and take in some fireworks, content that their government is doing a great job protecting them from whatever boogeyman lurks around the corner. We celebrate the Declaration of Independence as if it still means something to this day.
Just like Big Government has trampled on the Constitution, they could care less about the call for liberty issued by the Continental Congress.
Do a Google search for “Declaration of Independence” and the government’s National Archives will be the first search result you’ll see. Government loves embracing the history it wants to, while sweeping what it doesn’t want to under the rug.
After all, consider that while American schools brag about how free “we” are thanks to documents like the Declaration of Independence, Chinese schools teach their students about the economic freedom of the Song Dynasty.
‘Hey kids, eight hundred years ago, you could own a business and keep your own money! Just don’t try and connect the dots between that and our worship of Mao.’
We can sit around and pat ourselves on the back for something that happened 237 years ago – and wasn’t perfect even then – or we can escape the paradigm of being part of a government by the lottery of birth.
I for one choose not to celebrate blind nationalism. Not ever, but certainly not when that national identity is the root of the most arrogant, most prying government in human history.
It’s time to define ourselves by who we are and declare our independence from a national identity.